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kicked them out again ten months later. They have not been allowed to return since. He has not only paid a price for that defiance, he has been rewarded for his defiance of the UN by increased trade from a large group of UN member nations.
If, in 1998, Saddam Hussein posed the grave threat that President Clinton correctly described, then he most certainly poses a vastly greater danger today, after four years without inspectors on the ground to challenge his WMD procurement and development efforts. To those who still ask-that is what has changed!
Some have asked what are the incentives for Iraq to comply-is there is anything the Iraqi regime could do to forestall military action? Or is he finished either way?
Our objective is gaining Iraq's compliance. Our objective is an Iraq that does not menace its neighbors, does not pursue WMD, does not oppress its people or threaten the United States. The President set forth in his speech what an Iraqi regime that wanted peace would do. Everything we know about the character and record of the current Iraqi regime indicates that it is highly unlikely to do the things the President has said it must do. So long as Saddam Hussein is leading that country, to expect otherwise is, as the President put it, to "hope against the evidence." If Saddam Hussein is in a corner, it is because he has put himself there. One choice he has is to take his family and key leaders and seek asylum elsewhere. Surely one of the one hundred and eighty plus counties would take his regime - possibly Belarus.
Some ask does the U.S. needs UN support?
The President has asked the UN Security Council to act because it is the UN Security Council that is being defied, disobeyed and made less relevant by the Iraqi regime's defiance. There have already been 16 UN resolutions, every one of which Saddam Hussein has ignored. There is no shortage of UN resolutions. What there is is a shortage of consequences for Saddam's ongoing defiance of those 16 UN resolutions. The President has made the case that it is dangerous for the United Nations to be made irrelevant by the Iraqi regime.
As the President put it in his address last week, "All the world now faces a test, and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant?"
But the President has also been clear that all options are on the table. The only option President Bush has ruled out is to do nothing.
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Mr. Chairman, as the President has made clear, this is a critical moment-for our country and for the world. Our resolve is being put to the test. It is a test that, unfortunately, the world's free nations have failed before in recent history-with terrible consequences.
Long before the Second World War, Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf indicating what he intended to do. But the hope was that maybe he would not do what he said. Between 35 and 60 million people died because of a series of fatal miscalculations. He might have been stopped early-at a minimal cost of lives-had the vast majority of the world's leaders not decided at the time that the risks of acting were greater than the risks of not acting.
Today, we must decide whether the risks of acting are greater than the risks of not acting. Saddam Hussein has made his intentions clear. He has used weapons of mass destruction against his own people and his neighbors. He has demonstrated an intention to take the territory of his neighbors. He has launched ballistic missiles against U.S. allies and others in the region. He plays host to terrorist networks. He pays rewards to the families of suicide bombers in Israel - like those who killed five Americans at the Hebrew University earlier this year. He is hostile to the United States, because we have denied him the ability he has sought to impose his will on his neighbors. He has said, in no uncertain terms, that he would use weapons of mass destruction against the United States. He has, at this moment, stockpiles chemical and biological weapons, and is pursuing nuclear weapons. If he demonstrates the capability to deliver them to our shores, the world would be changed. Our people would be at great risk. Our willingness to be engaged in the world, our willingness to project power to stop aggression, our ability to forge coalitions for multilateral action, could all be under question. And many lives could be lost.
We need to decide as a people how we feel about that. Do the risks of taking action to stop that threat outweigh these risks of living in the world we see? Or is the risk of doing nothing greater than the risk of acting? That is the question President Bush has posed to the Congress, to the American people and to the world community.
The question comes down to this: how will the history of this era be recorded? When we look back on previous periods of our history, we see there have been many books written about threats and attacks that were not anticipated:
• “At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor"
"December 7, 1941: The Day the Admirals Slept Late"
"The Cost of Failure"
The list of such books is endless. And, unfortunately, in the past year, historians have added to that body of literature - there are already books out on the September 11th attacks and why they were not prevented. As we meet today, Congressional committees are trying to determine why that tragic event was not prevented.
Each is an attempt by the authors to "connect the dots" – to determine what happened, and why it was not possible to figure out that it was going to happen.
Our job today - the President's, the Congress' and the UN's is to connect the dots before the fact-to anticipate vastly more lethal attacks before they happens-and to make the right decision as to whether we should take preventive action-- before it is too late.
We are on notice- each of us. Each has a solemn responsibility to do everything in our power to ensure that, when the history of this period is written, the books won't ask why we slept-to ensure that history will instead record that on September 17th the American people were awakened to the impending dangersand that those entrusted with the safety of the American people made the right decisions and saved our nation, and the world, from 21st century threats.
President Bush is determined to do just that.